A group of rugby league warriors played and won for a brother today.
The South Coast Black Cockatoos won the Koori Rugby League knockout by defeating Griffith Three Ways 40-12 today (Monday October 7) at the Central Coast Sporting and Recreation Oval at Tuggerah.
They played and won for the late James Wellington. They cried, hugged and remembered their brother.
It proved to be an emotional win for each member of the James Wellington Memorial team.
Nobody felt the win more than Ben Wellington - James' brother.
"It means so much - it's a miracle," Ben Wellington said as tears unashamedly flowed.
A first-half blitz was one of the key reasons why the South Coast Black Cockatoos won the match.
Three Jason Gillard tries and one to Jayden Sullivan in the early stages of the game and the James Wellington Memorial team had Griffith Three Ways on the ropes.
Ryan James was testing the defence and then a try to Deaves had Griffith Three Ways really up against it and behind 26-nil after 21 minutes.
The Cockatoos just could not do anything wrong.
Captain Ben Wellington said they played with pride and determination.
He told his player prior to match how important the match was to him and his family.
Gillard had three tries in the first half and could have had four after a slick backline move, unfortunately, saw the ball go down when the try line beckoned.
A try to former State of Origin player Andrew Fifita gave the Griffith based team some heart and after 28 minutes the score was 26-6.
Momentum did swing to Griffith and they had several sets in down in Cockatoos' territory which they could not convert into points.
James and Zac Blattner worked hard for the James Wellington Memorial team, while Josh Coulter also came off the bench and did some good things.
The commentators were calling on the Black Cockatoos to play smart football which they did with some intelligent kicks that had the big Griffith side having to turn around and chase the ball.
An Arthur Little run almost resulted in Three Ways getting a try just before the break but the Black Cockatoos defence stood firm.
The at the halftime break was score was 26-6 and the James Wellington Memorial team looked good.
Dylan Farrell, as he was heading off at the break, said the Black Cockatoos had to put the first half behind them and focus on the second half.
A typical strong run from James got the South Coast team over the advantage line early in the second half but they coughed up possession and Griffith then went on the attack.
Griffith needed to be the first team to score in the second half.
However, strong defence from Wellington and Farrell kept them out, but Griffith was enjoying its best territorial segment of the match.
A try out wide from a kick got Griffith headed in the right direction and the score was 26-12 and the Black Cockatoos might have started to get nervous.
An injury to Paul Roberts left the James Wellington Memorial team a little light on in the halves department but he defied the pain and was soon back on.
The commentators were starting to worry about the Black Cockatoos.
"It looks like they have stopped playing. They should stick to their processes and continue to do what worked," the commentators said at the 53rd-minute mark.
The commentators continued to be impressed with the work James was doing.
Griffith, on the other hand, was its own worst enemy and made too many errors and let the South Coast Black Cockatoos off.
A try to the exciting Jake Gould gave the James Wellington Memorial team a 32-12 lead with 13 minutes to go.
It was going to be tough for the Three Ways to comeback from here and James Wellington Memorial team could taste victory.
A Griffith penalty enabled the Black Cockatoos to soak up some time and extend the lead to 34-12 with six minutes to go.
A Jade Anderson intercept try capped off the win.